This application proposes to study genes required to regulate the transition from vegetative growth to flowering in the model species Arabidopsis thaliana, and to test whether modified versions of these genes can be used to manipulate the flowering time of commercially important plant species. Twelve participants will collaborate in the project, which is divided into three closely related work packages. The first of these, functional analysis of cloned flowering time genes, involves three laboratories and will focus on understanding the role of regulatory genes that have already been isolated by the participants. These genes promote the initiation of flowering in Arabidopsis. This section will focus on understanding the time of action of these genes during plant development, the effect of over-expressing the genes, a functional analysis of their products and how they interact with other Arabidopsis genes required to regulate flowering time.
The second work package, isolation of novel flowering time genes, involves four participants and will use a combination of map-based cloning, T-DNA and transposon mutagenesis to isolate the genes affected in other late and early flowering mutants of Arabidopsis. Genetic analyses performed in this work package will complement that performed in the first work package, and gene probes as well as mutants and transgenic plants will be exchanged by all participants so that the expression of genes can be analysed in all genetic backgrounds. The third work package, application of flowering time genes, involves four participants from industrial laboratories and is directed at determining whether the regulatory genes already cloned from Arabidopsis can be used to promote or delay flowering of commercial crop species. It will also test the feasibility of inducing flowering of crop species by applying exogenous chemicals.There are strong inter-relationships between the laboratories, because seven of them are studying flowering time in the same plant species, enabling the exchange of information, gene probes, genetic variants and technology. The remaining four industrial partners are using gene constructs and information supplied by other participants to design and perform their experiments in crop species, and thereby facilitating the transfer of materials from academic to industrial partners.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
4411 RB Rilland
NR4 7UH Norwich
6703 HA Wageningen
2678 ZG De Lier
RG12 6EY Bracknell